“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will” – Mahatma Gandhi
That is exactly my mantra while counseling palliative patients in the thoracic opd of Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital. I help the patients find their ‘WILL’ and urge them to ignite their ‘WILL POWER’ enabling them to face the reality of stage 3/ 4 lung carcinoma..!
One such case, I came across is that of a patient who by profession is a teacher from Bihar. About 4 months back , the patient was referred to TMH where the oncologist diagnosed him with a Stage 4 lung carcinoma. After the inital consultation with the oncologist the patient was referred to me for counseling. “Ma’am please counsel the patient. He seems suicidal and the shock of being diagnosed with such advanced stage cancer may tip him over.” said the doctor.
I met the patient and the two caregivers who accompanied him. The counseling session started with ” why me! I didnt deserve it. I think I should just kill myself” said the patient. Well, I took a deep breath and started counseling the patient and the caregivers. A tough rookie he was 😅 . “A bit of kindness, a bit of reprimand and loads of empathy” were the key points of the seesion. The session ended with a promise to meet on the next follow up.
Today, as the patient walked into the doctors cabin after 4 months for a follow up, I was sitting there too. A big smile on his face he turned to me and a said ” your counseling gave me the strength to fight the disease. I am feeling better and reports are better too. You gave me the hope to fight, you gave me the hope to hold on, you gave me the reason to keep fighting and I cant thank you enough. Lady , you are the reason why I am still alive” . My soul just lit up. Humbled and blessed I quipped ” thank you sir, but you alone made the choice to fight, I just made you realise your strength.” As he was being assessed by the doctor ( who told him that he had made a remarkable improvement- only 25 to 30% patients respond so well) the patient again told the doctor, “The lady counselor motivated me so much. The improvement is only because of her”. There were smiles every where. On his way out the he shook hands with the me and bid a good bye with a thank you yet again.
What a humbling day it was for me. This was one of the most difficult case I had handled but seeing the patient improve was truly ‘satisfaction personified’.
“From one who wanted to die to the one whose will to live is so alive”— what a transformation it was, I smiled to myself!
My personal belief that ‘hope with positivity‘ can improve the quality of life manifold was validated yet again.
After this patient left, a lady patient walked in and held on to my hands and said “आपने हिम्मत दी तभी मेरे रिपोर्ट सही आयी है।” Her thank you would not stop till I gently pulled her hands away from her grasp.
Such is the power of counseling 😊
As they say
“You can’t give your life more time, so give the time you have ,more life”
— Vandana Mahajan